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Washington Nationals Shark Week: From Sharkadina to Baby Shark

Washington Nationals Shark Week: From Sharkadina to Baby Shark

Nationals left fielder Gerardo Parra has begun the climb into viral internet fame over the past few weeks, as Washington fans began dancing along to his relatively new walkup, "Baby Shark."

But with Discovery's Shark Week starting on Sunday, it's only fair to take a look at both Parra and his finned predecessor Roger "The Shark" Bernadina.

Right fielder Roger Bernadina, who made his MLB debut with Washington back in 2008, stayed in D.C. until 2013 when he was released.

Bernadina bacame "The Shark" (or, Sharkadina) in 2010, when two 20-something fans decided they wanted to become super fans of the outfielder after they saw him make one of those ridiculous catches he became known for. 

So, they went all-in. The pair, Tyler Stoltenberg and Terry Cangelosi, even made a Sharkadina blog (it's at a different address now, but it's still up and running). 

Their explanation for christening Bernadina "The Shark," per a Washington Post article: "He [hunted] down balls like a shark."

And Bernadina not only lived up to the nickname, he even promoted it himself. (Personally, I remember Nationals fans making the same "chomping" arm motion for Bernadina back in 2012 as they're doing now for Parra).

The Washington organization ran with it too... check out this Potomac Nationals Sharkadina giveaway: 

But when Bernadina was released by Washignton and picked up by Philadelphia toward the end of the 2013 season, the nickname didn't quite transfer.

Bernadina's last year in MLB was 2014, when he played with both the Reds and the Dodgers. (He spent 2015 and 2016 in Triple-A, with the Rockies and Mets, respectively). 

Since then, "The Shark" has played in the Korean Baseball Organization, including a huge season in 2017, but was released after the 2018 season. Earlier in July Bernadina signed with a team in the Mexican League.  

Though Washington was without an elite fish of prey for a handful of years, when Gerardo Parra changed his walkup song to the ever-popular children's tune "Baby Shark" in the middle of July, fans took notice. 

Then it became a thing. 

Fans started to do the "Daddy Shark" portion of the dance whenever Parra stepped to the plate. And as more and more fans joined in, more and more people began to pay attention.

Nationals fans are lucky; Washington finishes its series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday night, before starting a three-game series against Atlanta. That's four more home games before the month ends in which fans might be able to chomp along to Parra's walkup. 

Oh, and Parra is batting 1.000 in seven plate appearances since he changed his walkup, plus he has a .857 OBP in those seven games. (Yes, that's a super small sample size, but random, insignificant walkup-related stats are fun!)

Parra Shark and the Nationals now continue their hunt for a postseason berth. Washington is in a decent position for a wild card spot entering the last third of the season, with a 55-49 record and 6.0 games back from the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves (61-45).

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Astros players plan to make a team statement on sign-stealing scandal during Spring Training

Astros players plan to make a team statement on sign-stealing scandal during Spring Training

The Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal has rocked MLB and left a dark shadow over the league during offseason. Up until this point, despite a fired general manager and on-field manager, the players at the root of the scandal have remained silent on the subject and avoided questions from the media.

That will all change in Spring Training as the Astros players plan to make "a strong statement as a team," according to Astros' owner Jim Crane. 

"When we get down to Spring Training, we'll all get them together and they'll come out with a strong statement as a team and apologize for what happened and we'll move forward," Crane said in a media scrum.

Over the weekend the team held their annual winter FanFest where several players had to face the music as many players met with the media for the first time. Jose Altuve, who is one of the players who allegedly benefited from the sign-stealing, dodged the question as best he could. The Astros shortstop's comments coincide with Crane's, saying “I think the time to comment about that will come. It’s a little early for me to say something about it.” 

Outside of their FanFest event, there is little that has come out of the clubhouse. Their owner acknowledged the lack of communication from the players and said the players were advised to stay out of the conversation. 

"The players have been beaten up a little bit and they've been all spread out. They've just kinda getting [sic] advice to take it easy."

Already Spring Training in West Palm Beach is going to be awkward between the two teams that made the World Series last season. The Nationals, who won the World Series whether or not the Astros used their system to gain an advantage, have their facilities next door to Houston's.

And if the Astros sign former Nationals' manager Dusty Baker to the same position in wake of A.J. Hinch's firing, there will be even more tense situations at Spring Training this year. 

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MLB Rumors: Braves reportedly agree to one-year contract with OF Marcell Ozuna

MLB Rumors: Braves reportedly agree to one-year contract with OF Marcell Ozuna

The Braves had a massive hole in the middle of their lineup after Josh Donaldson signed a four-year, $92 million contract with the Twins last week. 

In response, the Nationals' biggest rival in the NL East has reportedly agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal with outfielder Marcell Ozuna. 

The Braves and Nationals both have to focus on replacing significant production at third base with Donaldson and Anthony Rendon moving on with lucrative contracts. The Nationals acquired Starlin Castro, brought back Howie Kendrick and Asdrubal Cabrera and are hoping for a big step forward from Victor Robles. 

With Ozuna, the Braves may have a better chance at replacing Donaldson in the lineup than the Nationals have with replacing Rendon. 

In two seasons with the Cardinals, Ozuna posted a .262/.327/.451 slash line with 52 home runs and 177 RBI. 

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